There are 25km of walks through the tropical bush and its not
hard to spot a koala on the Forts walk in the late afternoon.
Accommodation includes backpacker hostels, comfortable self-contained
apartments, holiday units and four-star hotels.
Magnetic Island is a 20 minute fast-catamaran ride from Townsville,
a Tropical North Queensland city which is going through a renaissance.
Taking centre stage here is the new $29 million beachfront, The
This delightful area has beautiful safe-swimming beaches, a fitness
circuit, a great water-park for the kids, plenty of pretty places
to picnic and some fine restaurants and bars overlooking the Coral
For a real gastronomic experience, take a wander down Palmer
Street in South Townsville and choose from a wide range of new
restaurants where every kind of cuisine - making the most of fresh
local seafood and produce - can be found.
The ReefHQ aquarium next to Ross Creek is certainly a great spot
to get a preview of the Great Barrier Reef. ReefHQ houses the
largest self-perpetuating coral reef in the world. Nearby is a
giant predator tank where you can watch sharks cruise menacingly.
There's a regular scuba dive show where the divers speak to you
via intercom while they feed the fish. Other highlights include
a marine creature touch-tank, a wild sea-turtle rehabilitation
centre plus great interactive activities for the kids.
After this, its easy to take a day-trip to the Great Barrier
Reef with Pure Pleasure Cruises and see the one of the world's
natural wonders up close.
A stunning addition to Townsville is the $22 million Museum of
Tropical North Queensland. Pride of place in the museum is the
fantastic Pandora exhibit which houses a built-to-scale section
of the Pandora's bow. This 1700s ship was sent to chase the mutineers
on the Bounty - a real tale of triumph and tragedy beyond normal
There's all kinds of accommodation in Townsville, from backpacker
hotels and holiday units to self-contained apartments and luxury
hotels, including the Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino. On
one trip to Townsville, we stayed at the historic Rocks guesthouse
perched on a hill overlooking Magnetic Island.
Owners Joe Sproats and Jenny Ginger have restored this 1886 landmark
to its former glory as a plush guesthouse. The Rocks seems to
always have some peripheral involvement in Townsville's history.
Jointly built by Townsville founder Robert Towns, it has served
as a bank residence, a plush 1930s guesthouse and a war-time hospital.
Some say there might even be a presence or two floating about,
but we didn't notice anything out of the ordinary during our visit,
just the lovely hospitality.
Whatever your tastes and temptations, Townsville is really coming
of age for that perfect Tropical North Queensland holiday.
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